The nation’s average gas price went up by 1 cent on Wednesday after 98 consecutive days of decline, breaking the second-longest price fall streak since 2005.
The average gas price hit $5.02 on June 14, before declining for each of those 98 days. On Wednesday, it rose to $3.68 nationwide, according to AAA.
Whether Wednesday’s price hike was a harbinger of higher costs or a temporary blip remains to be seen.
“I’d estimate over the next few weeks a recovery in prices,” with gas prices staying somewhere between $3.50 and $4 a gallon and “remaining relatively high,” Allen Good, an equities analyst with financial services firm Morningstar, told The New York Times.
Some experts indicated that prices would plateau.
“I don’t think you’ll see a major move higher or lower,” Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, told CNN.
Instead, Mr. Kloza explained that various push-and-pull factors on gas prices were working against each other.
On the one hand, production cuts mandated by OPEC and the limitations of U.S. refining capacity will restrict supply and push prices higher. On the other hand, the end of summer travel and with it the end of seasonal regulations requiring cleaner, more expensive gas will help tamp down demand and general costs respectively.
Global oil traders are also nervous about the short-term state of the global economy and are reluctant to put capital into the energy market.
“Crude has no speculative investment money behind it right now,” Mr. Kloza told CNN.